A 40-year Homecoming
When Mark Meyers first stepped onto Xavier's campus, his prime objective was to goof off. Granted, he was around 6 at the time.
"I was running around on this campus when I was a kid because my aunt had a house a few blocks from here," he says. "My brothers, sister and I would come over and just run around."
The irony of a kid running the steps of Corcoran Stadium and sliding down the arches of the original Alter Hall, eventually returning to Xavier four decades later, first as a dean and now as a professor and educational administrator, is not lost on Meyers.
Now ensconced in a third-floor office in Hailstones Hall, and proud owner of the business-card-filling title of Program Director for the Master of Education in Educational Administration, Meyers is constantly reminded of Xavier connections that even predate him.
"My dad got his MBA here and Hailstones was his favorite professor," he says, referring to Thomas J. Hailstones, Xavier's first business school dean and founder of the MBA program.
But a Xavier education for Meyers was not to be. He was born in Florida while his father, mother, brother and sisters were all from Cincinnati. "I'm the only member of my family who wasn't born at Good Sam hospital," he says.
So why Florida? Space. Outer space, to be exact. His father worked for Honeywell. The family relocated to the Sunshine State before he was born. But the Meyers' clan returned every summer, visiting relatives and galavanting around on the Xavier campus.
Dad wasn't an engineer, but a marketer. "He worked on space shuttles, Skylab and all that stuff, procuring government contracts," he says.
But Meyers was not impressed. He followed in his mom's footsteps—as a Catholic school teacher. His higher education experience can be summed up in three words—Florida, Florida, Florida—as in the University of Florida. Gators not Seminoles.
After earning a bachelor's degree in history, he was addicted to academia and completed a two-year master's degree in just 13 months. "I just slammed it," he says.
Meyers taught Catholic high school for five years, returned to Florida for a doctoral degree, and headed north. "I really didn't want to stay in Florida," he says. "Besides football and tourists, I wanted to have seasons."
He was hired by Glassboro State College in New Jersey, later known as Rowan University, and stayed for 11 years as Associate Dean.
Back to Xavier
Then out of the blue, a friend from Marquette sent him a job listing for a position at Xavier. He wasn't looking for a new job but decided to give it a shot and was hired in 2007 as Dean of the College of Social Sciences, Health, and Education, now known as the College of Professional Sciences.
"I wanted to get back to a faith-based Catholic institution, and I liked the way Xavier was putting the new College of Social Sciences together," he says. "It's a unique package of programs, and I'm a strange and unique package of products."
He recently returned to teaching and is now heading up the MEd in Educational Administration and on the faculty for the new Doctor of Education in Leadership Studies. The program prepares professionals to "go out into the world and make a difference in whatever role they've chosen—a school system, a health-care network, a not-for-profit, government entity or private enterprise."
While the stadium and arches have gone the way of Herald Avenue, this was one homecoming four decades in the making.
Mark Meyers' Strange Package of Products Fun Fact!
Some are born leaders, some are born coaches, but he's both. As a high school teacher, Meyers coached basketball, J.V. football and softball. But it was at Rowan that he truly reached the top, leading the Profs (real nickname) to the NCAA Women's Basketball Final Four in 1999. Division III, but not too shabby.
Bonus Meyer's Strange Package of Products Family Fun Fact!
His wife, Amy, works at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in Education Management, leading the education programs for doctors. As a couple, they also bring a healthy competitive attitude to the hard court—he in his Xavier attire, and she in her U.C. attire.
"We're loads of fun at the shootout."